Sunday, January 23, 2011

Smells Like Coming Home To Myself

I've rarely worn the same perfume more than two days in a row even before I started blogging. My collection was (much MUCH) smaller, so the rotation was more reasonable and even when sampling and trying on new stuff with fervor, I'd soon return to my regular loved ones and all was well with the world. Of course, I always believed in matching my perfume for every mood and treated scent as one of my accessories, like shoes, handbags and lipstick. Red is and has always been my favorite color, but I don't wear it every day. The same goes for Shalimar or L'Air du Desert Marocain. Some days were made gray cashmere. Some occasions call for Chanel No. 5.

I post four to five perfume reviews every week, which means I spend a lot of my time and skin space on the fragrances I'm testing. Some of them, regardless of my appreciation and enjoyment, don't fit. I don't mind putting on a scented costume here and there. It's fun to wear 31 Rue Cambon (Chanel) and play an Upper East Side blonde. But eventually it gets exhausting, and on days I'm testing new department store offering it's often depressing, because whoever wears Marc Jacobs Whatever, I don't even want to be that person (apologies to MJ fans). Usually sticking my nose into an Uncle Serge bell jar instantly recalibrate it and restores world order. But even within my own collection some perfumes are more the real  "me" than others, and they are the ones that when I wear them it smells like coming home and finding myself again. It doesn't necessarily mean they are my all-time top loves, though they may be- I've given up on rating my personal wardrobe. I love them all and they fit me in one way or another. But some perfumes smell like me more than others and these are the ones I'm listing here, in no particular order:

1. Tauer almost anything. There's something about Andy Tauer's work that fits me like a bespoke perfume. It feels like they're made of my personal memories and use bits and pieces from my dreams.

2. CB I Hate Perfumes- Revelation. I love figs, I love fig trees and it's not a rational thing. I just do. This is a fig perfume in 3D, full of connotations, references and personal associations.

3. Shalimar. Why, of course. Also, Shalimar Light.

4. Robert Piguet- Bandit. I have a friend who defines herself as "a good girl who does bad things". Oddly (or not) she's a Chanel No. 5 person through and through, while I, the suburban wife, wear Bandit. Go figure.

5. Serge Lutens- MKK and Miel de Bois. Actually, wearing almost anything Serge feels natural and easy for me. But these two infamous stinkers are as cuddly as my cats.

6. JAR- Ferme tes Yeux. Apparently, deep down I'm an expensive mix of rotting tuberose and civet. Who knew?

What are the perfumes that make you feel most like your true self?

Photo of model Carol McCallson by William Claxton, 1955


  1. When I'm not testing something new, I like to re-calibrate, or "Come home to myself," as you say with a couple staples that are always perfect, and always welcoming:
    1. Shalimar (of course!!)
    2. Safran Troublant
    3. Rose: any of several in my cabinet do the trick, from Serge's soliflore to Montale's oud-drenched buds.

  2. 1. Like you I love the Tauers - L'Air du Desert Marocain feels like it was made for me.

    2. Almost anything by Jean Patou fits me like a glove, at least the older ones.

    3. Caron Parfum Sacre claimed me at the very first sniff and has never let me go, or let me down, for 20 years.

    4.Lucien Lelong pour Femme is my go-to "sexy" perfume along with Parfum Sacre. Its affinity with my skin chemistry is nothing short of uncanny. Both of them are also oddly comforting at the same time.

    5. The 1999 version Ines de la Fressange perfume - the happy accident of buying unsniffed for once has led to my stockpiling it so I will never run out. It is just so right for so many things, and it's just so pretty.

  3. Femme by Rochas -feels like an extension of me .
    Green Tea by E Arden-this and 4711 are go to citrus
    Dreams by Tabu-my first mine scent and soon discontinued
    Y by YSL
    Opium-Love the spice
    Parfum Prive by La Perla
    Replique by Raphael

  4. 1. Gucci Pour Homme (the 2003 cognac colored juice, not that similarly named blue crap from a few years later)
    2. YSL Nu EdP
    3. Tom Ford Tuscan Leather
    4. Bond No. 9 Silver Factory
    5. Histoires de Parfums Ambre 113

    It's kind of funny to look at my list a see the patterns involved. There's spice, there's incense, there's a bit of sweetness, and 3 out of 5 were overseen by Tom Ford. I guess that makes me kind of predictable (not to mention a bit of a fanboy) but I always feel very comfortable and effortless and, yeah, myself when I wear them.

  5. 1.Une Rose Chypree- Beloved to me and a comfort scent of sorts ,at least for me. It's so beautiful,and I spray it heavily darling-I laugh at people who think it's so strong.
    It's a brickhouse and so am I.
    2. vtg. Miss Dior parfum- what I wear to elevate my mood, to give me strength and character, to remind me that I am a strong woman who never really belonged in this day and age anyways.
    3.OJ Woman-This perfume is special , first because it spoke to me about my forest runs that I cherish daily and then because my oldest daughter Alexandra who is the lovely age of 17 adores it on me.She says it's me, through and through..Such a compliment!
    I love so many scents but these three are for now, the most important.

  6. I love these types of questions!
    The perfume that smells the most like "coming home to myself" is:
    -Femme by Rochas

    Honorable mentions are:
    -Casmir by Chopard. I haven't smelled this one in a while. Does anyone know if it's been reformulated?
    -Ambre Sultan
    It's pretty obvious that I'm drawn almost exclusively to florientals & orientals. I wouldn't have it any other way.

  7. I have so many to try! But I really liked what you said about Tauer Perfumes, it happens with me too. It brings me a new concept of remembering and discovering. It is very original.

    Shalimar mais oui! I love Shalimar. And I don't wear the same perfume all the time. Not even Shalimar which is my favourite.

    Bandit, it is very me. But especially Habanita by Molinard, that is really like I am. I feel very connected with it.

    I want to try Black Orchid by T.Ford and I cross my fingers it will be also special to me. I don't like the scents that are just floral. I love very very much Hasu-no-Hana, more than Phul-Nana, on me. I really feel Hasu is for me.

    Parfum Sacre is one of the perfumes that I would put from time to time only for very especial moments like reading a book. It fits my concentration and relaxation.

    Opium by YSL.


  8. MKK, Vetiver Oriental (I'm wearing it now), and Chanel No. 19.

  9. Shalimar is on my list as well. Vent Vert feels like it's made for me. And Frapin's Caravelle Epicee to end the list.

  10. Right now, it's a decant of Jicky (EDP) I got in February '10 from Perfumed Court. To me, it has a lovely incense feeling, and a take no prisoners attitude, which is probably why Alice B. Toklas, cultural observer and Gertrude Stein's wife, wore it.

    Also, Givenchy Pi. Or, as I call it, "Warm Oatmeal Cookie." I am known as a very good home baker, and I am often asked to bring cookies, breads, cakes to committee meetings and the like.

    I'm looking forward to this coming February, when I will have a little extra money, and I plan to venture into Christopher Brosius's work, (In The Library) and possibly Mandy Aftel's. (Tres Vert).

    I hope everyone will stay warm and scented!

    Lawrence in Ohio

  11. First five that came to my mind are:
    1.Yohji (the original discontinued Yohji Yamamoto scent for women)
    3.Messe de Minuit
    4.every Lutens I own (Encens et Lavande is the one I wear most often)
    5.anything by Jacques Guerlain

    (but there are of course more...)

  12. I've recently discovered your blog. For me, Bulgari Black, Missoni de Missoni, and Dior Dune and J'Adore. I don't see much in common amongst the four, though Missoni and J'Adore are invigorating florals, but they're simple, pleasing scents for me - not occasion or outfit or texture and color (gray cashmere) or mood scents, like my others.

  13. Despite loving some other smells even more, 'Cristalle' and 'Eau de Rochas' are instant 'welcome home' perfumes - incisive and brisk without being clean and 'shower fresh'. And, partly through a developing Guerlain habit through reading this blog, 'L'Heure Bleu' is increasingly what I reach for when I haven't got time to think in the morning but know the diary is complicated and that I'm going to have to differentiate often in the way I relate to people. If there could only ever be one, despite the fact that I rarely wear it in normal routine - probably 'Arpege'; now there's a thing! Perfumey, grown up, not too sweet, has an edge on my skin,sillage not overwhelming for the job, but smells as though I've bothered to try .... and the bottle, of course. What an interesting subject!

  14. Opium. When I was 15 on school trip to France, the perfume-shop lady sprayed it on me (along with a dozen other scents--that was a fun shopping experience, LOL). I ended up buying L'Air du Temps because I thought it was appropriately sweet. But then the next day, I couldn't stop smelling a certain spot on my arm. I was just drawn to the scent. A friend eventually identified it as Opium, and to this day it is the scent I wear when I want to feel "real" and powerful.

    I've always been drawn to spicy scents. My mother didn't like me wearing them, which of course made me like them even more. :)

  15. There are a few that I wear that make me feel that way, they are like my second skin.
    -The original Fendi is at the top of my list, I have several backup bottles.
    -Tom Ford Moss Breches, it's heartbreaking to see it was discontinued...
    -Magie Noire vintage extrait.
    -Shiseido Feminite du Bois or Murasaki.

    Love the pic! Hilarious when kittys sit like that....

  16. The last one that felt like coming home to me was Byredo M/Mink, an odd, compelling mixture of austerity, coldness, smoke, honey, mineral and animalic notes. Unearthly, is the word I keep associating with this fragrance. Somehow it fits.

    Youth Dew, especially in parfum, also strikes a chord that nothing else quite does - the parfum may be the most carnal thing I own, in a wardrobe that also contains Bal á Versailles and Fracas. Demanding, complex, anachronistic and quite incredibly smutty even on my skank-taming skin.

    Trying Habanita for the first time felt like coming home. I couldn't believe I hadn't just sprung for that inexpensive bottle, sight unseen, before.

    Comme des Garçons Ouarzazate still makes my heart skip a beat, while also feeling like home - an entirely different home, though.

    Finally, vintage Bandit. It's the most glorious thing there is.

  17. I know exactly what you mean, G!
    My top it's-just-me fragrances are...
    Bellodgia (before the latest formulation, sigh)
    Etro Dianthus (more carnation)
    Lipstick Rose
    Poussiere de Rose

  18. I don't know. I have a hard time finding perfumes I like or that work well with my chemistry. I know what I don't like (vanilla or overy floral). I like my Hermes Eau de Marvilles, BondNo 9 Bleecker St. and Marc Jacobs Ivy. I also like Clean Provence. I am trying to branch out to other perfumes. I really hate dept store ones, but I'm not sure how to go about it without spending a ton of money. Any suggestions?

  19. I'd say all of yours and add in Annick Goutal Eau de Sud and Sables and the original Acqua di Parma.

  20. Same feeling for me about various Tauers. And is not about a single one because more or less it feels the same wearing Incense rose or Orange Star or Le Maroc pour elle...
    The second place is populated by monster vanillas like Dulcis in fundo and Sl's UBV
    And third place is occupied by Geste and Clemency from the weird Humiecky&Graaf

  21. Diorissimo smells like what I want to be on a good, spring day. I still have my 1st bottle from 13+ years ago.

    Anything with a vanilla and musk note is truly me. Add a little acid-sweat note (lovely, eh?) from being a runner and always too warm and you've got it. Dior's Hypnotic Poison, while potent, reminds me of me at my best and never turns on me. My grandma loved the Poison line, so it's channeling a bit of her.

  22. Coolio Category you made, Gaia, "Coming Home To Myself" scentz! :) Well, here's my list of perfumes that, among others I Adore, just have that Thunder-Drum-Pulsing Heart which glues my nose to my flesh, makes me sigh aloud, and drink-drink-drink & never get enough: *BANDIT* Baby, C.B.'s Musk Reinvention (like you wrote "the most dangerous juice I've ever smelled" - I crave this), MKK (Help-Me-This-Is-TOO-GOOD!), Donna Karen Original (with the inexplicable rubber-top), Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir, A.G. Folavril (this makes me crazy-Happy), Angel (it sets my mind on Fire!), & before it was tragically discontinued, Wild Fig & Cassis by Thymes - it was my Fig Home. On the lookout for new Fig-Loves this spring, but there's a definite new room in my Home for A.G.'s Ninfeo Mio. Peace :)

  23. The perfumes in my collection that always feel right and very "me" whatever the occasion are DK Gold and Rossy de Palma. To me they could be everyday perfumes (if I didn't have so many others) but are beautiful enough for special occasions too.

  24. Spike, how is Ambre 113 in terms of longevity? Have you tried 1740? One of my favorites. Great post. I do want to point out that the word verification for my comment is..."tessicle"?!

  25. 1) Vtg Chanel 22, perfume
    2) Ombre Rose Jean Charles Brosseau
    3) Vtg Magie Noire, Lancome
    4) Miss Dior
    I do not wear all these perfumes regularly,but When I do - it's really like coming home -like returning to my roots, cause these are the perfumes my mother, grandma and late greatgrandma used to wear them

  26. This is a good question. For several years I had been wearing those clean non-scents. Then some unexpected changes occured in my life last Nov and they no longer feel right.
    So I've gone from the Philosophy Graces to Serge Lutens Chergui & Fumerie Turque. Sometimes both of them together. Totally opposite of what I was wearing.


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